When played with feeling and expertise, the Oboe can produce the articulate and artistic qualities of perfection. The opening melancholy melody depicts the laid back Tortoise going about his (or her) daily business, with not a care in the world and without any hurry. To me, - perfection. Along comes the up tempo Hare with his (or her), 'always on the go' attitude, jumping about like a 'kangaroo on a trampoline'. To me, - passed that stage in my life. Back to the Tortoise melody and a little 'chilled out' cadenza to finish. To me, again, - perfection. The piece should be played with plenty of feeling. The tempo markings are only a guideline and the phrasing and slur markings are there, only to suggest how I would like it played. Feel free to use as much rubato and improvisation. The cadenza has scope for as much ad lib as the soloist and accompanist want to give.
The inspiration for the piece came from the menagerie of birds and animals that congregate in my back garden most of the year. I regularly sit and watch with great interest all the antics of these wonderful creatures.